7 Ways To Conserve Water Every RV Owner Should Know

Water is an important and vital resource. From drinking water, to showering, cooking and flushing the toilet, we use gallons of water each day in our daily lives. But when you’re out on the road, conserving water becomes more important than ever. The tanks on your RV can only hold a limited amount of fresh water and not all campsites will provide you with that necessary resource. Here are 7 ways that you can save water, whilst still making the most of your trip.

Reasons To Conserve Water When You’re Out On The Road

There are many reasons why you should be trying to conserve water. In the first instance, it can be a particularly important task for many RV owners because it can be extremely difficult to find potable water when you are out and about on the road. Not all campsites that you may come across will be set up with water for you to refill.

In fact, there’s a pretty high chance that some of the campsites, however, fantastic they are, are not equipped with a water source. If you ever find yourself in this situation, then you have to be prepared to last out your entire camping trip with only the freshwater that is in your tank.

Most RV tanks can hold about 40 to 50 gallons of water. This may sound like a lot, but when you consider that the average American uses approximately 20 gallons per day on just one a shower, the need to conserve your freshwater supply becomes much more important. You don’t want to be forced to have to head back to the campsite prematurely because you have run out of water.

Though you may only initially think of water usage in regards to drinking and showering, you may actually be surprised with just how often and in how many different ways you use water every day. From washing dishes, to washing your hands, to flushing the toilet, water is used for a range of purposes without you even really noticing. With these top water saving tips, you can learn how to conserve water when you’re out and about on your RV, as well as when you are back in your home.

1. Turn Taps Off

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One of the simplest ways to start saving water is to make sure that you turn off your taps. This may seem like an obvious statement, but consider how often you actually leave the tap running without using the water. The most common culprit tends to be during the time you brush your teeth.

You may not immediately think of water usage when you think about brushing your teeth, or perhaps you think that you don’t actually use (or waste) a particularly big amount. One easy way to see just how much water is going done the drain unused is to place a cup or pot in the sink while you brush your teeth. See how much is actually filled up during that time and then multiply this by the number of times you brush your teeth per day and again by the number of people in your household also doing the same thing. It will quickly become apparent just how much water is being needlessly wasted.

If you’re brushing your teeth or washing your hands, turn off the tap until you actually need to use the water. The alternative is that you not only waste water, but, when you’re at home, you also waste money. All the water that goes unused and wasted down the sink is also water that you are paying for. Not only this, but such waste of water is also bad for the environment. The simple act of turning off the tap while your brush your teeth can serve three purposes – conserve water, save money, and help the environment.

Another source of water wastage comes in the form of shaving. Similarly to brushing your teeth, turn off your tap when shaving. Instead of leaving the tap running so that you can rinse your razor, use an alternative method instead. Fill up a cup or a few inches of the sink with some warm water. When you need to rinse your razor, you can rinse it in the cup or sink. It will be just as effective at rinsing your razor as running water, with far less water usage and significantly less water wastage.

2. Limit Toilet Flushes

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It may surprise you to learn that on average, approximately half of all water usage takes place in the bathroom. While showers and baths are an obvious source of water consumption, there is a far bigger culprit in the bathroom – the toilet. Toilets tend to be the single largest user of water within your home. Your RV is no different. Learning how to efficiently conserve water for your toilet is probably one of the most important skills you need to develop as an RV owner.

In the first instance, it’s useful to check what type of toilet model you have. Older models, particularly those made before 1993, tend to use far more water than the newer models. Although it can be expensive, it can be a worthwhile investment to replace your toilet with a newer model which is more efficient. Newer toilets tend to use either low flush or dual flush, which can significantly reduce the amount of water being used per flush. This can dramatically and significantly cut your water usage.

When you’re out camping on your RV you might want to consider limiting your flushing entirely. Rather than flushing every time you use the toilet, consider only flushing it when you need to. You can apply the old rule of ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow…’ This will help to conserve water, so only flush when you really need to. An even more efficient way to save water usage in your RV toilet, however, is to use gray water to flush it.

3. Reduce Shower Times

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Unsurprisingly, showers are another big source of water usage in the bathroom. When you are out on your RV, long showers should be avoided at all costs. However relaxing and appealing a 30-minute shower might seem, it won’t be worth it when you realize you have run out of water for all your other necessities.

Instead, aim to dramatically shorten your showers. Reduce showers to 10 minutes maximum to try to conserve as much water as possible. Even better, get accustomed to having a ‘military style shower’. These are a fantastic way to save water, while still giving you the option to shower.

This showering style involves only turning the water on at the start and end of your shower. Turn on the water to wet your skin and hair and give yourself a quick rinse. When you are soaping up or shampooing, however, turn off the water. Only turn it back on at the end when you need to rinse off suds.

You’ll also want to try to avoid wasting water at the start of the shower while you wait for it to adjust to the correct temperature. Instead, leave your shower on the ideal temperature setting so that you minimize the amount of time you wait. This in turn will also help to reduce the amount of water you use and waste.

However, the best way to save water when you are using your RV is to skip a shower entirely if you can. If you’re camping at a time of year or in an area that is reasonably temperate, or if you are not planning on camping for too long, consider avoiding having a shower entirely.

“Instead of using up so much water in the form of a shower, you can maintain your cleanliness using alternative methods. For instance, rather than washing your hair, consider using dry shampoo for the duration of your camping trip, especially if you’re only going to be away for a few days,” says Earl Lyles, an RV expert at 1 Day 2 write and Origin writings.

Baby wipes are also a great alternative to showering, whilst helping you to freshen up. Another option is to fill up a small pot or the sink with a few inches of warm water. Use a wash cloth or a sponge to give yourself a quick, but effective clean.

4.  Use A Water-Efficient Shower Head

Another great way to help reduce the amount of water that you use in the shower is to ensure that you have a water-efficient shower head installed. There are a variety of water-efficient shower heads available for purchase at most local hardware stores. Even better, low-flow shower heads can be reasonably inexpensive and so are an easy and affordable adjustment to make.

A low-flow shower head will help to ensure that you can reduce the amount of water that you use when showering. However, it’s important to ensure that the shower head doesn’t get clogged up as this can reduce the water even further, leaving you with a very unsatisfying shower experience. Some low-flow shower heads also come with a shut-off button. This can be particularly good for helping you to temporarily shut off the water during your ‘military style’ shower.

5. Use Gray Water

Gray water is the waste water from your sinks and shower. Though this water may (and probably will) contain soap, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t contain any human waste. You can collect gray water from your shower easily and simply. Before you start your shower, make sure that you place a large bucket in it with you. This way, you can collect water as you shower.

You can also save the leftover water from washing your dishes. Simply wash the dishes in a large tub to begin with and save the water that you collect to use later. You can also save the water that you use when boiling something, such as rice or pasta. When you need to drain the pasta in the colander, ensure that you have a large container placed underneath it in the sink. This way, you can collect the water as it’s drained.

Although you won’t be using the gray water for cleaning purposes, it can be a great way to save water usage in your toilet. Instead of using freshwater from your RV’s tank to flush the toilet, use the gray water that you have collected instead.

6. Make One Pot Meals

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A lot of water is also used up in the kitchen. One of the biggest sources of water usage in the kitchen comes from cooking and washing up dishes. When you start your meal preparation, limit the amount of water you use by washing your fruit and veg in a large container, instead of washing them under a running tap.

Another useful strategy is to learn to make meals using only one pot, or even better, stick to meals that don’t require any cooking at all. When you’re out camping on your RV, you could instead limit your meals to sandwiches or meals which can be cooked using just the grill.

Another brilliant alternative, not just for when you are out on your RV, but also great for when you return home, are one pot recipes. These are increasingly popular because they are simple to make and usually require only minimal effort. When it comes to water usage however, they are a great way to minimize the amount of water you use in your RV.

“One pot meals essentially involve just cooking a series of ingredient all in the same pot. Stews are a particularly popular recipe. This reduces the number of items you use during the cooking process and therefore, the amount of washing up that you’ll need to do later. If you make a large enough quantity the first time around, you can also save on cooking on other days,” says Glenda Higgins, a blogger at PhD kingdom and Next coursework.

If you can, you also want to try to avoid washing up in your RV. Depending on the length of your trip, you may be able to simply place your dirty dishes into a tightly-sealed container or a cooler. You can then save the washing up for when you return home, helping you to conserve the limited water in your RV’s tank.

7. Store A Jug Of Potable Water In The Fridge

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It’s important to ensure that you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you are camping somewhere hot or engaging in strenuous activity or exercise. However, instead of drinking water from your limited and precious freshwater tank supply, bring a separate jug of potable water.

Plan to bring at least one, but preferably two, jugs of potable water for every member of your party. If you want to have a refreshing drink, you can simply place the jugs in the fridge ahead of time. That way, when you are thirsty, you can have a cooling drink ready and waiting for you without needing to use up any of the water in your tank. You’ll also avoid wasting water as you run the tap, waiting for the water to cool.

Another useful strategy is to limit yourself to using one glass per day. Instead of reaching for a fresh glass each time you want a drink, thereby creating more washing up for yourself, limit yourself to using a single glass per day. Even better, invest in an eco-friendly reusable water bottle and take that with you on your camping trip. You can store it in your fridge to have cool, refreshing water to drink on your RV or when you’re out.

If you run out of this water, why not filter your tap water? Filtering your RV’s tap water is a quick and handy way to get good quality and great tasting drinking water, right in your RV. You could even implement an RV drinking water filter system, to continuously filter your RV’s waste water,


Water is a vital and necessary part of daily life, including when you are out on the road. With only a very limited supply of freshwater available in your RV’s tank, it’s more important than ever that you develop water-saving techniques and strategies to help ensure that you conserve as much water as possible.

Conserving water is much easier than you might think. It ultimately comes down to paying attention to how and when you use water. Avoid leaving taps running unnecessarily, flush your toilet only when needed (using gray water if possible) and reduce your shower times. By following these water-saving ideas and tips, you too can make the water in your RV tank go a long way. At the very least, you should be able to last an entire weekend in a campsite that doesn’t provide fresh water.

More importantly, if you apply these same strategies when you get back home, you could also conserve water, while saving money and making a positive impact on the environment.

Michael Dehoyos is an accomplished health writer and Write my coursework, where he works closely with companies of all sizes to improve their marketing strategy concepts. He has also contributed to numerous other websites and publications throughout the country. In his spare time, Michael enjoys taking long camping trips with his family in his beloved RV.